I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Location of the Jewish Temple and the Via Dolorosa: A Hebrew Catholic Opinion

Location of the Temple according to the 5th theory

Today there are five major theories circulating about the location of the Jewish Temple. The first theory, which was also believed by some Jewish and Christian authorities of the past, is that the Temple and the Holy of Holies was located where the present Muslim mosque of the Dome of The Rock stands. The second theory, which also had the support of some Jewish and Christian authorities of the past, is that the Temple and the Holy of Holies were in the area of the Al Kas fountain between the Dome of the  Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque. At this location the Al Kas fountain could be today on the spot of the Holy of Holies or the Bronze Sea (or Laver) or the Altar of Sacrifice.

The Temple Mount today showing the Dome of the Rock an the Al Aqsa Mosque. The red numbers represent the location of the Jewish Temple according to the five theories.

The third theory is that the Temple and the Holy of Holies was to the north of the Dome of the Rock where the Dome of Spirits is today. The fourth theory is that the Temple and Holy Holies were not on the Temple Mount but to the south over the Gihon Spring. This forth theory believes that the whole Temple Mount was the Antonia Fortress which they believed was a city that housed a legion of 6,000 Roman soldiers. The fifth theory is that the Temple was where the Al Aqsa mosque is today and that the Temple platform extended further south than the present Temple Mount. This theory is proposed by Norma Robertson.

 The location of the Temple and the Antonia Fortress according to the 1st theory

Location of the Temple with the Altar in the area of the Al Kas fountain according to the 2nd theory

Location of the Temple  in Red with the Holy of Holies over the Al Kas fountain according to the 2nd theory

After examining the evidence of all five theories I believe the second one to be the correct one but I also think the fifth theory has alot going for it especially in regards to the aqueduct and water sources which is also a strength for the 2nd theory. According to the Book of Acts the Antonia Fortress was a barracks where St Paul preached not the city complex that the fourth theory proposes. In fact it was a barracks for 600 Roman soldiers not 6,000. We know that the original Temple had been a threshing floor which would also make theory four incorrect as it would not be built over the Gihon Spring as it would pollute the water source. Theory one is also wrong as threshing floors are built in valleys not on hilltops.

 The Location of the Temple according to the 4th theory

The fortress Antonia was also south of the moat so the present so-called Antonia Fortress at the school at beginning of the traditional Via Dolorossa could not have been the location of the Roman Antonia Fortress. Theory three would seem to be impossible as it borders right on the moat and leaves no room for the Antonia Fortress. Between the Western Wall (Kotel) and the Temple was a beautiful Rose Garden which would best fit the area of trees today seen near the Al Kas fountain area.

Location of the Temple according to the 2nd theory

Location of the Temple according to the 3rd theory

The Dome of the Rock  and the Al Aqsa Mosque are built on the foundations of the Roman Temple to Jupiter build by the Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century very similar to the Temple of Jupiter in Lebanon. It is believed that the statue of Hadrian on a horse once stood where the Al Kas Fountain is today (or nearby) which was believed to be the Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple (Abomination of Desolation?). Is this the source of the legend of Mohammed ascending to Heaven on his horse from the Temple Mount? For Jews and Judeo-Christians it invoked the image of the false Messiah of Dan who was visualized as a rider on a horse with a serpent at his heels (Genesis 49:17).

The location of the Temple according to the fifth theory

The original Via Dolorosa may have started at the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus was taken across the Kedron Valley to the south side of the Temple to the House of Annas, then the House of Caiaphas, then to Pilate's residence at the Antonia Fortress, then to Herod's residence. These places are all located in the west (except the Antonia Fortress) in the area known as the Upper City. They are located in today's Jewish and Armenian Quarters. It also possible that Pilate was resident in Herod the Great's Palace and that Herod was resident in the Hasmonean Palace (near Shonei Halakhot and haSheshelet streets) which is about half way from Herod's Palace and the Antonia Fortress (Dome of the Rock location). In this case the soldiers would have taken Jesus away to the Antonia fortress for his flagellation and after Pilate's judgment they returned there with Jesus to collect his Cross. If the Gabbatha was in the Armenian quarter Parking lot area then that was a 17 -18 minute walk to the Dome of the Rock location of the Antonia Fortress.

From Herod then Jesus was taken back to Pilate at the Antonia Fortress (Dome of the Rock). This is possibly the real location of the First Station of the Cross and Jesus was led out of the western gate of the Antonia Fortress compound heading up a street that parallels today's Baruq Street (but probably 20 feet down below the present street) and the ancient Western Wall. Some believe that the gate here is the Iron Gate near the Little Kotel (possibly the real second station of the Cross). This street heads towards the north-west until the 4th station that is under the Church of the Spasm. From there it joined a street heading back towards the south-east before turning up a street heading west for the Ephraim Gate on the Wall of Second Temple Jerusalem and then outside the city to Golgotha. Thus the traditional Stations are roughly correct from the 4th station onwards but 20 feet under the ground.

A rough outline of the original Via Dolorosa on a modern map

Locations according to the 2nd theory in black letters and the different theories for the location of the Temple in red numbers

Rough outline of the Temple location according to the 2nd theory with the Bronze Sea or Laver at the spot of the Al Kas fountain

Until further archeological digs are allowed on the Temple Mount then the question is open about where the actual Temple and the Holy of Holies stood. If the second theory is correct then the Kotel (Western or Wailing Wall) is very close to the Holy of Holies and would explain the intense holiness and presence one feels when resting one's head on its stones. 

 Alternative 6th theory of the location of the Temple on Mt Zion

There is also another sixth possible location of the Temple and Antonia Fortress which would need more research. The Temple Mount may have been Herod the Great's Palace and the residence of Pilate. The Antonia Fortress may have been in the present Armenian Quarter and the Jewish Temple to its South on the area of Mt Zion and the valley between it and the eastern Hill may have been the original Kedron Valley and the eastern Hill the Mt of Olives. The Cenacle may have been in the area that was once part of Solomon's Palace. The Temple and the city of Jerusalem were said to be totally raised except for Herod's Palace which could be why so-much is still standing in the area of the Temple Mount.

According to the visions of  Blessed Anne Catharine Emmerich both Annas and Caiaphas's houses were on Mt Zion 300 paces apart (she was often very incorrect at judging distances). It would seem that the site known as Annas' House today may have been in fact the House of Caiaphas and the so-called House of Caiaphas in the Armenian quarter the House of Annas. In the time of Jesus a diagonal road ran between the House of Caiaphas and the House of Annas. She speaks of the area called Ophel (before one reaches Mt Zion in the west) being on a hill south of the Temple and surrounded by their own walls. She also places the palace and tribunal of Pilate on the north-west side of the Temple Mount and north of the moat. Opposite or adjoining Pilate's residence was the great forum or market place to the north of Pilate's residence but separated from the forum by a courtyard. This forum would seem to be where the school is that many claim was the location of the Antonia fortress. There was a Guard house with an open court which under it was a small prison. On the forum in front of the guardhouse was the Gabbatha. 

Emmerich clearly states that the Antonia Fortress was built on the projecting rock (ie the Dome of the Rock) which gives support for the 2nd theory as well as the 5th theory. She also states that King Herod's residence was not far from Pilate's residence and the forum in what she calls the new city in the north. If Blessed Emmerich's location of the Forum where Jesus was scourged and trialed by Pilate was near the Omariya School then the traditional 1st station of the Cross is roughly correct too. The 2nd Station would probably be south of the present traditional 2nd station near the present Baruq St.

 However I think at this stage of research that the 2nd theory is probably the correct one in regards to the Temple and the Antonia Fortress. There is of course much traditional support that is in favour of the Dome of the Rock location of the 1st theory and is believed by many Jews and Christians today. Until further archeological discovery or Divine Revelation should definitively prove the point we all need to keep an open mind to all theories and the possibility that our choice of theory could be incorrect
Which Location for the Temple do you think is most likely?
1 Dome of the Rock location
2 Al Kas fountain location
3 Dome of the Spirits location
4 Gihon Spring location
5 Al Aqsa location
6 Mount Zion location
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Jose Rincon said...

Very interesting topic because of it's implications. If the temple was not located on the temple mount, then the Jews would be free to rebuild the temple now and could mean that we are very close to the end of days because of the prophecies about the temple and the anti Christ. However, the 5th Theory looks very likely to me since the last people to be able to excavate the temple mount were British archeologists in the 1800's and most of them believed that is where the Temple was located, namely Norma Roberts theory. I will be eagerly watching for any developments about the temple

Catholic Jew said...

Thanks for your comments Jose. I think Norma makes a lot of good points but not convinced it is the right location. But certainly will keep an open mind to all theories.